BENGALURU: The Joint Select Committee of the state legislature reviewing The Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill 2017 seems to be divided over its recommendations. The committee headed by Congress MLA K N Rajanna submitted its report to Speaker K B Koliwad on Tuesday while BJP members stayed away conveying their dissent.The committee was constituted in June to review the Bill that had evoked protests from doctors and private hospitals, terming the Bill as “draconian.”
The protesting doctors and private medical establishments had demanded that the state bring government hospitals under the purview of the Bill. Sources said that the committee has not accepted the demand. The Bill seeks to clamp down on charging irrationally high fees for various medical services. The proposed law makes it mandatory for private private hospitals to install a board displaying the fees being charged for services at a place visible to patients.
The Bill provides for constitution of an expert committee can make recommendations to the state government regarding fixation of fee for each health service or treatment and on different rates for different class of private hospitals.
The Bill also provides for constitution of District or Metropolitan Grievances Redressal Committees and an Appellate Authority to act on the complaints from the patients against the hospitals. Collecting a fee more than the fixed charge and violation of other provisions of the Bill could invite penal action which could include penalty between `25,000 and `5 lakh and imprisonment anywhere between six months to five years.
Sources said that the panel has recommended reduction of maximum jail term for erring doctors from 5 years to 3 years, However, the report is said to have retained the clause in the Bill for setting up redressal committees and appellate authority.BJP members Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri, Dr Ashwath Narayan, K S Eshwarappa and Ganesh Karnik expressed displeasure over their suggestions not being accommodated in the report. They have requested the committee to drop the imprisonment clause, bring government hospitals under Bipurview to improve services and ensure accountability and opposed setting up of redressal committees.